Saturday, December 26, 2015

Home Sweet Home

One year ago, I remember saying "see y'all next year" when I bidded goodbye at the airport. And as promised, I traveled back home this December for 2 weeks and spent some quality time with the family. 

Bought my flights for this trip earlier this year in March and managed to find a pretty good deal (for my budget) on Singapore Airlines. Hubby couldn't take off so many days from work so we decided to meet up in Europe for Christmas and New Years. Instead of booking a round trip from NY to PG for $899, I booked a multi-city flight with a stopover in Germany (in Munich, out Frankfurt) on the way back for $1,271. That's a premium of $371 but considering that we're traveling during the holiday season and combining 2 trips in one, it's actually not bad at all. Used another 12,750 rapid reward miles + $11.20 to book a round trip on Southwest from Nashville to NY, but realized that it's actually not the best use of our miles. Should have saved the miles for longer trips and paid $225 for the flights instead, but oh well, any savings now is better than none.

The journey from Nashville to Penang took about 36 hours in total, including a change of airport in NY, and transits in Frankfurt & Singapore. To help avoid jet lag, I tried to stay awake for the NY-Frankfurt leg and forced myself to sleep during the Frankfurt-SG leg. The journey was all good until I woke up to a passcode-locked phone before arriving SG. I know I just changed my phone passcode 2-3 weeks ago but I've been using touch id to unlock my phone so much that I absolutely forgotten what passcode I set. =.= I kept trying different combinations until my phone finally decided to restart and reset, yes wiped out everything like a brand new phone, and this happened right before I landed in Changi. Lesson learnt for not backing up my stuffs on iCloud, I pretty much lost all my contacts and messages but the good thing is I only lost the photos taken since I started the journey from Nashville, everything else has been backed up. I ended up spending my entire transit in Changi using the free wifi to set up my 'new' phone and reinstalling all the apps. =.=

Aight enough of words, now time for photos. P.S. The collages in this post is different from my usual style coz I only brought my not-for-personal-use work laptop this trip so had to use the phone's app instead of photoscape. Turned out ok though.

Dec 8 (Tues): JFK - Changi. The few photos I was able to recover coz I sent to hubby on fb messenger. Checked-in 2 bags and a backpack for carry-on. Didn't max out the weight allowance but all my bags were already as heavy as I am. 

Dec 10 (Thurs): Changi - Penang. Clear blue skies and happy parents welcoming my arrival, good to be back after one year! =)

First meal in Penang at 方源 restaurant. Grandma and grandaunt didn't know that I was coming back, kudos to the family for not keeping this surprise for 8! They weren't home when I got back so they only found out when they came back at night. =P

My big luggage was filled with gifts/purchases. Ain't easy packing for both summer and winter so I decided to pack very little for summer and most of my stuffs were all winter clothings for Europe. 

Dec 11 (Fri): First thing on my to-do list was to get a haircut. After a short 24 hours back home, I took the bus to KL on Friday evening to spend the weekend with some friends and families.

Dec 12 (Sat): One of the main reason for traveling to KL was to meet up with college buddies. This reunion was planned few months ahead and glad we made it happen. Enjoyed home-cooked food by Rae/Jon and Josh's mom, coconut ice-cream brought by Shal, and played Wii like kiddos...good times! 

Dec 12 (Sat): Coincidentally, 2nd aunt & uncle had their 30th anniversary party on the same weekend so I was able to join in for the celebration. Had a good time hanging out and catching up with cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Beautiful pearl-themed designs.

Yummylicious food for the dinner.

A night filled with love in the air.

Goofing around with aunt and cousin.

Dec 12-13 (Sat-Sun): I earned 3 Sheraton free weekend nights this year so after using 2 nights in New York, I still had one more free night that was expiring the weekend of Dec 13 so I decided to use it at Sheraton Imperial KL. Quite a nice room but too bad I didn't really get to spend much time enjoying it coz we were busy going around KL. =P

Didn't get a suite upgrade with my Platinum but at least got a club room and access to the lounge. The food in the lounge was really good and better still, with a view of KL tower.

Dec 13 (Sun): Thanks to 2nd aunt & uncle for the brunch treat at Grand Imperial Restaurant. =)

Dim Sum...yum yum yum!! 

Dec 15 (Tues): Visited big bro & SIL's new house and had lunch together with the fam.

Dec 15 (Tues): Cousin Carolyn and bf were back from Australia and came to Penang for a visit so we met up with them for another round of family dinner at 方源 restaurant.

Dec 17 (Thurs): Another family dinner at Eastern Wishes before sending cousin off to the airport. Lemon steamed squid & 菜旦 cravings fixed! =) 

Dec 18 (Fri): Met up with UGRADers Cayenne, Sean, and Yeong Ru for a quick catch up in Penang before the UGRAD baby arrived 3 days later. =) Once again congratulations Sean & YR on their baby girl! 

Dec 18 (Fri): Korean BBQ dinner at Ssambap restaurant with the batchmates/buddies. It's been 5 years since we started with the firm and to be honest, we didn't really expect all of us to stay on for this long but somehow we did. =P

Dec 19 (Sat): Got myself motivated and went the hiking competition for a fun hike. Haven't hiked for 2 years but still managed to complete the hike in good time. It's been awhile since I last sweated so much. =P

Dec 20 (Sun): Lunch at Eastern Wishes again before sending off bro to the bus station.

Dec 22 (Tues): Beautiful weather during the drive back to Tambun.

Seafood dinner at 義成 with mom and dad.

Dec 23 (Wed): Seafood dinner treat from big bro and SIL at Hai Boey restaurant.


Beautiful sunset on my last evening in Penang for this trip.


Challenge for my return journey  was to pack everything into just one backpack. Couldn't bring back too many things as I was still gonna travel around Europe on the way back.

Aight that's all for this long post. It has been a short but good 2 weeks back home. Glad to be able to spend some quality time with family and friends, and loaded up on a whole lot of yummy food. Take care y'all! Till we meet again next year!

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